Monday, September 30, 2013

Introducing a New Angelfish

Last week I mentioned that Emmie Lou was quickly outgrowing the betta tank, where I placed her when she became the sole survivor of a batch of angelfish fry.

I decided I'd like to keep her, unlike others that have been placed for sale at my local pet shop. So the dilemma was where to place her. I have five angelfish in a community tank and four angelfish in a separate community tank. Though it seemed a no-brainer to place her with the four angels, they have actually become quite territorial. I was concerned they would bully or even kill the much smaller and younger Emmie Lou.

So I made the decision to place her in the 70-gallon tank with five angels. Of the five, I know for certain that two - the silver angel and the blue marble angel - are males. I know two of the koi angels are female. The third koi angel I believe is a male but I am not completely certain. I also don't know if Emmie Lou is actually a female, as she's too young to tell.

The video below shows Emmie Lou as she's added to the community tank.

When introducing fish to an angelfish tank, it seems that the existing angels ignore fish of other species. Introduce a new angelfish, however, and competition begins for the heirarchy, which can result in disaster. So there are several factors to consider:

(1) If the existing angels have established certain areas of the tank as theirs, it's best to redo the decorations. When decorations or plants are moved around, it results in everybody having to figure out which area is their territory.

(2) Females are much more easily accepted than males, who are more aggressive and territorial.

(3) Make certain there are no courting angelfish, no eggs laid and no angelfish babies in the tank. Parents are at their most aggressive during any of these situations.

(4) Make sure the new fish is disease-free by quarantining the new fish for several weeks. Since Emmie Lou was born in the Honeymoon Suite in my home (occupied permanently by Lindsay Buckingfish and Stevie Fishnick) I have been observing her closely throughout her young life.

(5) If possible, introduce new angelfish in groups of three. It prevents bullying by the more established fish.

(6) With small angels, make sure there are no fish of other species that can be bullies or fin nippers. Older angels can protect themselves more easily than small angels.

(7) Observe, observe, observe. Make sure there is no bullying going on and the new fish have places they can go to escape aggression.

(8) Feed the fish just prior to adding the new fish, or feed within 1-2 minutes of adding the new fish.

I introduced Emmie Lou to the community tank in the evening, immediately feeding the fish as she was added. The females showed more interest in her while the males immediately tolerated her. This could mean she is definitely a female... Or just such a young male that the older, established males don't see it as a threat. Only time will tell.